Hampton University
Ellis Roper Speaks at the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute Meet the Leaders Lecture Series
11/26/2019 - #123

HAMPTON, Va. (November 26, 2019) – The Hampton University William R. Harvey Institute (WRHLI) held another Meet the Leaders Lecture Series featuring Ellis Roper, Senior HR Representative for PepsiCo, on Saturday, October 19, 2019.

“The Meet the Leaders Lecture Series is such a great opportunity for our William R. Harvey Leadership Institute students to learn from real world leaders. They get the chance to ask questions and hear what it takes to be exceptional future leaders,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.

Roper is a Senior HR Representative for PepsiCo, supporting Frito-Lay North America Sales for the Atlantic region. His lecture to the Harvey Leadership Fellows was about influence. The importance of it, the skills needed for it, and why it is needed to be a successful leader.

He said there are four pillars of influence: interpersonal, reasoning, assertiveness and rational persuasion.

  1. Interpersonal: building rapport and trust; seeing things from others’ points of view; being aware of the feelings of others; showing genuine interest; supporting and encouraging; and reading non-verbal cues.
  2. Reasoning: ask open-ended questions to broaden understanding; probe with insightful questions that narrow in on problem or issue; be a skilled conversationalist; convey energy through interactions; and actively listen.
  3. Assertiveness: asserting ideas confidently without being aggressive; persisting despite opposition; uncovering concerns and reasons for disagreements; and constructively disagreeing.
  4. Rational: seeking alignment and gaining “buy-in;” course of action has mutual benefits; building a diverse network broadens circle of influence; negotiating to satisfy the greater interest; and identifying needs of key people and adapting a strategy.

Roper walked around the ballroom of the Student Center, engaging students, asking them questions and interacting on a personal level. He tried to take every day occurrences and relate them to the corporate world.

“How many times have you had that friend where you are literally pouring your heart out to someone and they act uninterested? Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you. It makes you not want to talk to that person for a while, right?” Roper asked the crowd. “Now, imagine that on a corporate level. You are trying to explain something to someone and they are checking their emails, not paying attention. Never put yourself in that type of position. Show genuine interest. Build yourself up to your business partner so whatever problem they have, you are genuinely interested and invested.”

Roper was highly impressed with the WRHLI program. “I can personally say that I could only wish that I was in a program like this when I was in college. Everything that you guys are learning right now, I had to learn on the fly. There was no structure, no process; it was the ‘school of hard knocks,’” Roper said. “You guys are getting the opportunity from freshman to senior year to learn about all the leadership principles that it takes to succeed in the real world.”

“It was an honor and truly a privilege to have a guest speaker of the caliber of Mr. Roper, who is not too far removed from the classroom as a graduate student, and has the corporate acumen to enlighten the Leadership Fellows on their next steps upon graduating from Hampton University,” said Dr. Jarris Louis Taylor, Jr., Director of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute. “Additionally, we are in the process of reestablishing our partnership with a focus on incorporating an international collaboration that will include employment, internship and mentorship opportunities that will directly contribute to the overall professional success of the Fellows, PepsiCo and Frito Lay from a global perspective.”

Roper graduated from West Virginia University in 2015 with his bachelor’s degree in business administration and his masters in industrial relations in 2017.  He is originally from Washington, D.C., however has lived in multiple locations across the east coast, one being Portsmouth, VA. His favorite chips are Doritos Sweet Chili Sauce.


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